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Web Apps integration in Firefox for Android
Stage Development
Status In progress
Release target Firefox 8
Health OK
Status note Basic support landed in Firefox 8. Additional work in progress for Firefox 9.


Product manager Thomas Arend
Directly Responsible Individual Mark Finkle
Lead engineer Fabrice Desre, Mark Finkle
Security lead `
Privacy lead `
Localization lead `
Accessibility lead David Bolter
QA lead Aaron Train
UX lead Madhava Enros
Product marketing lead `
Operations lead `
Additional members `

Open issues/risks

Next steps

  • Implement the frontend pieces to expose webapps in Firefox for Android (find more mocks below):
  • Complete UI design concept
  • Implement and review UI design
  • Sync with Appetizer team
  • Feature implementation
    • add an "Install web app" entry in the site menu when not in a web app
    • handle a --webapp switch on the command line
    • minimize the chrome when in web app mode. The icon is still clickable to show the site menu.
    • new "Set Page as Web App" entry in the site menu
    • "See all Web Apps" entry in the awesomscreen
    • A list-oriented display of the web apps.- new "Set Page as Web App" entry in the site menu
    • "See all Web Apps" entry in the awesomscreen
    • A list-oriented display of the web apps.
    • do not go fullscreen on maemo so the normal maemo application bar is used across the top
    • completely hide the fennec URL bar
    • no site menu at all


Note that the awesomescreen is changing, very soon: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Mobile/Projects/AwesomeScreen2.0

Stage 1: Definition

1. Feature overview

Webapps integration on mobile has (or can have) three principal components:

  1. The ability, within Firefox, for a user to designate a particular website or webapp as having "app status." In desktop Firefox, the analagous action results in the creation of an App Tab (though there are future plans to have the designation mean more than simply a pinned tab).
  2. Apps should be available for launch, at which point they come up in chromeless instance of Firefox. Two possibilities for where they are available are: 1. on the desktop, like other apps, or 2. within a Firefox Android desktop widget.
  3. The surfacing of launchpoints, within Firefox itself, in some visually distinct way of sites/apps the user has designated as apps.

Along side of this, there is the issue of handling apps that are installed (i.e. web apps with manifests, etc.) from the web or a webapp store.

The high level goals for the feature is to expose web apps to users of Firefox for Android. Users should be able to access their apps, to discover new apps, and to have a seemless online apps experience across devices.

2. Users & use cases

  1. Frequent use of a certain site makes the user want to allow quick access to it (i.e. not through the browser)
  2. Frequent use of a certain site make the user want to switch back and forth to it using the system app switching mechanism
  3. User installs a webapp (i.e. one with a manifest) as an explicit action and then wants to launch and use that webapp

3. Dependencies

  • bug 583750 - Tracking bug for web app support in Fennec
  • bug 584767 (FIXED in Fx8) - Basic web-app front-end
  • bug 663571 (FIXED in Fx8) - Basic web-app back-end
  • bug 609043 (ASSIGNED) - Add support for Mozilla Labs' new Open Web Apps manifest format and API

4. Requirements




Stage 2: Design

5. Functional specification


6. User experience design

Case 1 - Enabling designation of an "app"

A user should be able to say "I would like to treat this site as an app", most likely from the Site button.

Prototype patches:

Older designs

Case 2 - Launching apps on Android

Android Widget

The concept here is for an Android-native Firefox widget to be installed with Firefox. It would placed on the Android desktop and could house the icons for installed/designated webapps (as well as potentially other Firefox capabilities like awesomebar suggestions).



Related question: How much of awesomebar capability should be available through the widget?

Example: 5434008892_9f4bd604bf.jpg

More here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/madhava_work/sets/72157625893411005/

Direct launch from Android Desktop

The design, in this case, is clear -- icons based on high-res-as-available versions of the site favicon, directly on the desktop.

Case 3 - Apps available in the browser

Even if installed/designated apps are made available on the desktop or in a desktop widget, there is still value to them being synced and being findable in the browser itself. The awesomescreen and tab area are two possibilities. We're exploring the former more vigorously.

This could include:

  • An icon to show which awesomebar results are designated as apps (like icons right now indicate which results are open in a tab or are bookmarks)
  • An awesomescreen category of just apps
  • Apps bubbling up in the pre-typing awesomescreen list, given higher scores as bookmarks get right now

older designs

These are old - do not implement!


Stage 3: Planning

7. Implementation plan


8. Reviews

Security review


Privacy review


Localization review




Quality Assurance review


Operations review


Stage 4: Development

9. Implementation


Stage 5: Release

10. Landing criteria


Feature details

Priority P1
Rank 999
Theme / Goal `
Roadmap Firefox Mobile
Secondary roadmap `
Feature list Mobile
Project `
Engineering team Mobile front-end

Team status notes

  status notes
Products ` `
Engineering ` `
Security sec-review-needed imelven
Privacy ` `
Localization ` `
Accessibility ` `
Quality assurance Testplan Testplan in progress
User experience ` `
Product marketing ` `
Operations ` `